Okay, so we all admit we’d like to have the real referees back in NFL games, the sooner the better. And we know the referees are locked out by the league right now as negotiations drag on and on and on.
But here’s a question: do you know what the league and the referees are negotiating over? Okay, money, sure. But there are always other things that just a raise in pay.
Here appear to be the four main points to be discussed and resolved before we get the real officials back:
1. Salary. You know this, of course. NFL officials on average make about $150,000 a year for their work in 16 regular-season games and preseason games. The league has offered to up that to about $189,000, apparently. The union would like more, of course.
2. Retirement plans. This is an issue of whether the league continues a plan that has it contribute much of the retirement plan money or if it can shift to a 401k style plan that has the referees contributing to the plan more than they do now.
3. Full-time officials. NFL officials can hold other full-time jobs, working that job Monday through Friday and during the off-season. That’s not true of NBA or MLB officials. The league wants to hire a handful of full-time referees for training purposes and the like, it says. The union is not crazy about that idea.
4. More officials. The league wants to hire as many as three more full crews of officials to rotate into and out of games during the season. It says this will keep officials fresher during the year and help produce more good officials. The union is afraid this could depress salaries and even hurt job security.
There you have it. That’s why we have replacement referees. Settle those issues, negotiate, compromise, and you get the real officials back and we can start complaining about them missing calls like we always have.